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IDALIA

who had sought the solitades of the dense Moldavian pine-forests, in a conventual community different to those of any other country. He was saved, and awoke one sunlit evening, conscious and calm, gazing dreamily and wonderingly at the dead Christ on the altar, and the narrow arched window, with its glimpse of plain and forest through the slit, while the Agnus Dei pealed on the stillness of the chamber. He thought himself dreaming still.

To his bedside came a nun, pale, gentle, with dove-like eyes, a woman no longer young. Erceldoune looked at her dimly; the past was a blank, yet familiar as the chamber was to him, and unreal his own personality, he vaguely desired and missed what he had seen throughout his delirium—what he did not behold on awakening. And the first words he spoke were:

"Where is she?"

The Sister shook her head, looking on him with a compassionate welcoming smile.

"I cannot understand, my son. I can speak a little French, but you must not talk yet, you are too weak."

All European languages, most of the Eastern, had been as familiar to him as his own. He repeated his question impatiently in the nun's tongue: